In The News

MIT study: Global warming, air pollution to impact global crop production

Researchers at MIT looking at the interaction between global warming and ozone pollution say the combined effects of the two on global food crops will likely be significant, according to a release . Their study considered the world’s most important staple crops. Rice, wheat, corn and soy make up more than half of all calories that humans consume globally. Some of those crops are more sensitive to pollution, scientists say, while others are more affected by changing temperatures. This sets up a hard-to-predict scenario for crop production in the future. Output will likely vary by region, the study finds. With all factors considered equally, researchers say crop yields may drop 10 percent by 2050. But the effects of ozone pollution are harder to predict.

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UConn grad students research wetland methane emissions

Graduate students at the University of Connecticut are researching the role that wetlands play in producing methane, according to a release from the university. Methane is a major greenhouse gas known to be more potent at trapping solar radiation than carbon dioxide. Other studies have shown that wetlands contribute 15 to 45 percent of methane emissions globally. The work at UConn is looking into the effects of water levels on those emissions coming from a wetland near campus. To do this, researchers will measure soil moisture and gases released in the plot. They hypothesize that carbon dioxide levels will increase with drier soils and methane levels will do the same in wet conditions.

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It's not all sensors: Social science bolsters mountain water research

Environmental sensor networks embedded in mountain ecosystems are helping scientists learn more about the workings of water and climate. But there's another source of  information out there that's just as important to tap: the people who live, work and play in mountain landscapes. "They're observing those landscapes on a 24/7 basis," said Courtney Flint, an associate professor of natural resource sociology at Utah State University. "They often have not only great observations of the biophysical systems, but they certainly are observing the social systems in those landscapes and have a lot to say about how they may be changing over time and where they may be headed.

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